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Back to the Island 2018

This years Back to the Island was an interesting one. As Stephen Kellogg told me, I had to fight for it. And I really did.  I’m going to try to sum it all up in one post but if things get too wordy I’ll break it up a bit.

I was scheduled to fly out on Friday, a day before the activities began. A huge storm was coming in and earlier in the week they didn’t think it would be that bad, but by Wednesday snow totals kept creeping up and up and up.  Starting at a dusting to 3 inches when all was said and done I think they were saying we could get upwards of a foot (and I think that’s what we did end up getting).  Wednesday when I was at work, Southwest emailed me to let me know that my 5:45am flight out of Hartford was already canceled and calling them to reschedule they told me the earliest they could get me out to Jamaica was SUNDAY.  I canceled that flight all together and ended up booking a flight on American Airlines that would get me out at 8am and put me on the same flight to Jamaica with a friend (and later a second friend as well who also had gotten bumped due to the bombcyclone)  But by mid-day Thursday that flight was canceled so I was put on a 10am flight out of Hartford and a later flight into Jamaica.  I went to bed early and everything was still “On Time” – having no clue how the roads were going to look I left at 4:30am and got to the airport and my gate by 6am and we were supposed to start boarding at 9:30am to leave at 10.  Boarding was delayed and when we got on there seemed to be some drama because a couple had a dog on the flight with them but the paperwork didn’t say there would be a dog on the flight.  It turned out that dealing with this was the least of my worries.  My flight to Jamaica was delayed by an hour which was great because that gave me even more of a buffer as we still needed to de-ice which would add probably 30 minutes to our time.  But then we pulled away from the jet bridge only to return to it 5 minutes later – some valve that was needed for the engines to start was frozen shut and maintenance would have to manually open it. Then that didn’t work either and then we all had to get off the plane and well… there was no way we were leaving in time for me to get to Jamaica on Friday at that point.  I re-booked a flight out of Charlotte for Saturday morning, hoping that I would at some point end up in Charlotte on Friday night.  And I did – after being one of the lucky people on only one of FOUR flights out of Bradley that morning/afternoon that had this weird frozen valve issue.  (I guess it being so rare explained why no one started to heat up the plane at 6am when it was sitting at the gate with me, both of us doing nothing)

So Saturday morning I once again woke up around 4am having no idea how long security lines would be in Charlotte and once again spent far too much time doing nothing at a gate at the airport but we were off to Jamaica without incident.  Upon landing in Jamaica it was absolutely POURING rain and when I finally met up with my friends they told me I had missed nothing because they all just sat around hiding from the rain and waiting for me to show up.  Everything at the resort was super slippery and then we found out that Hanson had decided to shift the schedule and postpone the first nights show both due to the weather and maybe a little bit because so many people were still not there yet.  We walked the beach a bit and ended up having a group meal in the steakhouse as our room level waived the fee for the prime cuts.  Afterwards the resort had activities going on so we got to see some swimmers and dancers and by “got to see” I mean we really got to see as I spotted one of them in plain site naked and changing… and then a steel drum band in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes.  During the steel drum band Zac showed up and then we spotted Isaac at the karaoke bar and Taylor in the club.  It became a full on selfie fest and we just kind of sat back, drank, and watched it all go down, none of us getting any photos with any Hansons. (In fact of the 7-8 of us hanging out all week I was the only one to land a photo with a Hanson… more on that later.)

The next day winds still seemed to be too much to raise the roof on the stage and it was raining on and off so plan B went into effect – where we would have Zac’s solo show, Chris Carraba’s set and the “Rock All Night” set from Hanson in a green house.  I was lucky enough to be front row for all of it – and was thrilled when Zac awarded our “good behavior” with a song that had never been performed live before for us.  (As you know, my main goal for these trips is to hear songs I have never heard before, though the released songs that I have not heard are getting fewer and fewer.)  Afterwards we saw him and asked him what it was called and he just rubbed his fingers together and said “Haha” but we ended up finding a post on Hanson.net where we saw it was either called Fight Another Day or The Ballad of Seymour Better Times.  It’s currently the latter in the Hansonstage.com database but can be changed at any moment if needed.

I really was not sure what to expect as far as Chris Carabba.  He had come to my college one year and I made it to front row to see him but was just not impressed with him at all and we left early.  And talk about a full circle moment – that show was at my college with a friend I had met on Hanson.net to see Chris Carabba and while we were waiting to go inside she told me “You should come with us next time we go see Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers I think you will like him” and now here I was on an Island with Hanson, Chris and Stephen. Crazy. But I absolutely LOVED Chris and he was so adorable with how he was so excited that people were singing his songs back to him and asking for him to play certain songs and just generally enjoying his set.  I also liked when he said that he had only known 2 of the members of Hanson but today he met Zac and now Zac was his favorite Hanson (and then went on to mention both Isaac and Taylor were also his favorite Hanson’s)  I snapped a pic of Chris’ setlist, but he ended up mixing it up a bit so I can’t say for sure what all he did end up playing.

Then it was time for Hanson’s Rock All Night set.  The stage was awkwardly tiny but if that was potentially going to be my only front row experience of the trip, it was a great one to be right up front for.  I was able to see the setlist before the show started and was flipping out for “I Believe in A Thing Called Love” (which didn’t end up happening) and “You Shook Me All Night Long” (A never before done cover!) on the setlist as well as a few other fun rare songs mixed in as well. (One Taylor said they had not played in 5 years but I don’t know where he got his info from because hansonstage says otherwise! :P)  This set was a bit shorter than what we are used to and 3 songs on the setlist ended up being skipped but the guys did have Chris join them for Back to the Island which has become a staple of the event.

After the concert it was time for Cards Against Humanity with Zac, which was squeezed into the buffet area due to the weather and was overall just a really awkward set up.  We kept a penis tally because before the game got underway it seemed like it was going to be said a LOT…but the official tally was only 5 by the end of the night.  A fan had given Zac some Hanson-related cards for the game and I think that really brought things to a whole other level when you could play “Zac Hanson”, “Isaac Hanson” or “Taylor Hanson” as a response in addition to the cards that came with the game.  I was on the red team but it was the green team that was victorious.

The next morning we had tie dye with all 3 Hanson’s and I’m not all that impressed with my design for this year. There was a lot of white. I opted to not wet my tshirt before dying it because I was convinced that made things run too much but maybe I needed a bit of a happy medium instead.  A slightly damp tshirt.  I also was hoping for a blue and orange shirt and somehow ended up with yellow and then went with purple instead so my Mets shirt has instead become a Vikings shirt lol  The guys tend to mingle during this event but never really made it to our table (and when Zac did come by he was looking for blue dye which we did not have so he was innocently sent away to find it elsewhere never to return again)  One of the Island Gigs guys asked if we saw any Hansons and I said no, only to have him ask me which I wanted a photo with so I chose Zac and he took me over to him for a very awkward photo.  Zac seemed like he was over things at that point and the guys left shortly after.  We kept our shirts wrapped up for a couple days and I didn’t end up taking the rubber bands off until I was home this year – but I am not sure that helped much. We will see once it makes its way through a vinegar wash and the washing machine. (Which I may not get to for a while)

Then it was time for Taylor’s solo set.  Since the stage was roughly 40 paces from our back door, we opted to watch it all from our back porch.  Taylor came out, played a song, then took his shirt off (revealing a tank top underneath) and took off his shoes and socks and invited anyone who wanted to go in the water with him to go in. Then he played the rest of his set soaking wet.  His set didn’t have anything I hadn’t heard on it – however there was “Dream Girl” on his setlist that he had skipped which would have been a tick for me in the win column.  The rest of his set was a nice variety though and I enjoyed it.

Stephen Kellogg’s set was up next,  and we got a chance to talk with him a bit before it. He didn’t end up playing the song I had been requesting for him to play since last February, but he did end up adding in a last minute request for “Father’s Day” which had me crying.  I think that he won the crowd over as well and he did a pretty well-rounded set as well to give anyone who hadn’t heard of him before a good variety of what he’s all about.

Then it was time for the Members Only setlist. I was glad to not be up that close for this set because I never know all the words to these songs!  Each of the guys did a solo during this set and then Stephen Kellogg joined them for a song he wrote with them called Coming Back for More.  There was some debate over whether or not Isaac’s solo song was Members Only (Zac and I say no, Isaac says yes) but the one that was so clearly not a members only song was A Minute Without You which they played for the encore. Why? I don’t know.

After the shows was Isaac’s Family Feud activity which was also in the buffet and a lot of people did not stick around which was evidenced by the time it took for him to call out numbers of people who were actually present to end up on stage. (There’s got to be a better way to do that)  I am pretty sure all my friends who wanted to go on stage made it up for a round – but the funniest had to be when Rachel buzzed in to answer “What would you not want to happen to your taxi when you are on your way to the airport” with “Get lost!” and Isaac took offense thinking she was telling him to get lost… not that she was saying she didn’t want the taxi to get lost.  After 10 rounds it was tied 5-5 red vs green and it was RED that was victorious in the tie breaker round. A nice split amongst the teams.

Our last full day on the Island kicked off with group photos with the band where I told the guys a bit about all the snow we got and how my flights got delayed or canceled like 5 times.  Isaac did his solo set which consisted of a song that had lyrics down on the stage that he had written just a few weeks prior and a surprise song that he wrote on the spot during his set. I’m calling it “Isaac’s Jamaica Song” on Hansonstage at least until someone can convince me to name it something better.  He chatted a bunch due to needing to tune his guitar and said how singing happy birthday and the like is a stalling tactic (and then it was made clear that night during the full band set how often Hanson uses this tactic lol)  He had a really nice set as well and is pretty consistently my favorite solo set of of the 3.

 

The last show of the trip was “Singles” but it was expanded a bit to include songs that almost were singles or should have been singles just to more round out the set.  Of course, we thought we were all safe because With You In Your Dreams did not fit into any of the themes – but apparently they decided to consider it a single.  I once again found myself front row for this set and decided I could either sob the whole song or try to zone out and play on my phone and/or take photos.  I was victim of symbol face Zac for most of this show and during the beginning of the song he was leaning down so I could see him so zone out and take photos of Zac won and I managed to not cry. Phew.  The encore consisted of the only repeats of the trip – Back to the Island and You Shook Me All Night Long and they also actually did I Believe In A Thing Called Love this show as well.

During the last 2 nights on the beach – baby turtles started hatching and making their way to the water. I didn’t get to see any turtles in person (and being at a turtle hatching/release is for sure on my bucket list but I never thought I’d see it in Jamaica since it was not the reason for it!) but it sounded like they were able to make sure quite a few got to the water and hopefully they are doing all right out there!  Hanson dedicated I Was Born and renamed it for the evening The Ballad of the Baby Turtles.  (Don’t underestimate the sting of the baby turtle!)

After the show it was the after party – and there were even some dancers for some of the songs! (like one of my favorites, Pony) Where we were alerted via social media that there was an earthquake in Honduras which was putting some of Jamaica under a tsunami warning.  No one seemed concerned but now I have attended Taylor’s after party in both a tornado and a tsunami warning.

There were a lot of “wild life” encounters – I fell after being chased by a cockroach (which got my heart rate up to 119 as opposed to the 95 it seemed to max out at during any of the Hanson shows), there was a GIANT grasshopper in our bed, there was a lizard on the ceiling, there was a tiny lizard on our back porch, I found some weird looking bugs and caterpillars, I also spotted a hermit crab. Snails. A pig… cats.. goats… I’m not sure what else I am forgetting.

Wednesday we got up and had breakfast, checked out of the hotel, hit up the gift shops and made our way to our shuttle back to the airport 🙁  Security is always a pain in the butt and this time they wanted me to walk through the metal detector with no shoes on and using no cane.  Once it was explained that this was not going to end well for anyone involved I compromised to take my shoes off if I could use the cane – and needed a pat down anyway so the whole activity was pretty pointless.  I did however have a lot of fun people watching an entitled woman who needed wheelchair assistance think that she should be the first on the plane because she was the first to the gate (She was second to last, I was last of the preboarders. We both ended up in the 2nd row of the plane so what’s the big deal?)

This trip was by far a lot different than any of the previous 5 – and I took the least photos I have probably ever taken in my life (Hanson photos not included) mainly because my camera was always in my bag and I spent most of my time walking around trying to make sure I wasn’t going to slip and fall on wet decorative tile.  I enjoyed the new resort and wouldn’t mind seeing it being held there again for 2019 but I think that the Jewel where it was last year was probably my favorite of all the resorts.

Hanson Chicago – Finally It’s Christmas Tour

Hanson in Chicago was another crazy weekend. Once again I had a super crazy early flight after a concert the night before.  I got into Chicago around 8am, met up with my friends who were already there for the Friday show the night before and we did all sorts of sight seeing like going to Macy’s windows, The Bean, Millenium Park’s Christmas Tree, Target, and an insane crazy insane Christmas Market that had more people in an area than I ever wanted to be with so we did not stick around very long.  We also decorated stockings that we were going to hang from the VIP box we had purchased. It was a crazy plan and one that we just hoped would work out. That evening we went to Lou Malnati’s for some deep dish pizza which even though I am not a pizza fan I had to try and I have to say I was impressed.  Maybe the problem is I need to trade in my New Haven style pizza for some Chicago style.

The morning of the show we didn’t need to bother waiting in line since we had the box, so we went to the Hancock building and did “TILT” Now, my biggest fear is falling so leaning 45 degrees out of a window of the 90-something-ish floor of a building was a major challenge for me (especially when I have little to no upper body strength and had to try and hold my self up as well) but I did it. Do, Go, Be, right?  Then we went to Navy Pier and rode the ferris wheel.  After the first go-around we were like “Once, that’s it? Rip off!” By the time we actually went around a 3rd time we were pretty happy with it letting us off then, but it was a fun way to see the city.

That evening was the Christmas show and everyone was tweeting the guys asking for Happy Christmas.  They hadn’t played it since that first show in Toronto but usually Chicago shows get something special so I was hoping that would be it.  No such luck, though 🙁  (And then they did it the 2 shows after. I missed 4 shows on this tour and they played it at 3/4 of those shows. Thanks guys, really.)  Our stockings worked out quite well and in the photo gallery you can see Taylor pointing them out.  The setlist for this show was pretty much the same as the rest, but during the encore the techs were putting towels over Taylor’s keyboard and some of Ike’s pedals.  What was that all about? What did it mean?  Well – there was SNOW! During Blue Christmas.  So even though the setlist was basically the same – each of the 4 shows I went to being a little bit different, and that is why I keep going to multiple shows on a tour.

After the show we hung around in hopes of getting photos with the guys, but unfortunately all we did was see them drive off 🙁 They ended up tweeting that they had an early flight out to Los Angeles and couldn’t stick around.  0-2 on bus attempts. At least it was not as cold as when we waited in Toronto!

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Run Rudolph Run
Please Come Home For Christmas
At Christmas
Someday At Christmas
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Peace On Earth
Christmas Time
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
Winter Wonderland
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas (With snow!)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

Hanson in NYC for 2 nights of Finally It’s Christmas

Hanson did two nights in New York City for their Finally It’s Christmas tour.  Once I saw that the setlist was almost entirely Finally It’s Christmas + Snowed In every night, I wasn’t sure how they were going to mix up the two nights, but they managed!  At the first night, I was able to get “Peace On Earth” added to my heard live list. Unfortunately even after 2 more nights, still no Happy Christmas so I’d have one chance left in Chicago!  Taylor seemed to flub the words to a couple of songs night one – Someday at Christmas and I can’t recall the other one.  Then they even had to stop and completely start a song over because half of the guys on stage started playing “Please Come Home For Christmas” and the other half, “Baby Please Come Home” – it’s amazing how many of the songs in the set were similarly named.   The crowd was a lot better than the Toronto crowd but there did seem to be some girls who had never seen the band before going crazy like it was 1997. I thought we got that out of our systems on the Middle of Everywhere “comeback / reunion” tour, but I guess not!

The second night we were waiting around because our seats were on the aisle and we didn’t want to sit down only to have to stand up a million and one times to let people in our rows.  While we were waiting, Mark Hudson walked by us. I freaked out and then wondered if he would end up joining the guys on stage for a song – and he did! Actually 2 songs. Well, really, 3 if you count the medley.  I don’t think they were expecting him to stick around for the Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas medley, but he did and was quite entertaining.  I’ll trade in Happy Christmas for 2 special guest songs any day – but was really, really hoping it meant I’d be hearing it in Chicago!

Night 1

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
Christmas Time
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Silent Night Medley
Peace On Earth
Merry Christmas Baby
Please Come Home For Christmas
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
All I Want For Christmas Is You
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Night 2 :

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Please Come Home For Christmas
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Peace On Earth
Christmas Time (With Mark Hudson)
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas (With Mark Hudson)
Merry Christmas Baby
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

Hanson Christmas in Toronto

After a fun Friday with 98* it was off to Toronto. I flew there in the tiniest plane I had ever been on – it was 9 rows and every seat was both a window AND an aisle.  The two ladies in front of me were freaking me the eff out because they were convinced the pilot did not know what he was doing and that we did not have any flotation devices.  Shortly after making it through customs I found Maribeth and we figured out the best course of action to get to our hotel from the airport – which turned out to be a cab because uber was not cooperating and was showing as more expensive.  After dropping our stuff off at the hotel we stopped at a Starbucks to attempt to get WiFi (it failed) and then decided to walk to the CN Tower which was my pick for our activity. I had already climbed a tower in New Zealand, so why not go for another one.  This time though, I decided to try and face my fear and was going to stand (and lay and walk!) on the see through floor.  After we did a loop around the tower and took photos with all the giant Moose and Bears in the gift shop, we ubered to a Christmas Market which was Maribeth’s choice for the day.  We snacked on poutine and had a pretzel bigger than our heads that was dipped in chocolate and had some fun walking around and people watching. We attempted to uber again but our driver canceled on us and then we got a cab back to the hotel before ubering to the concert venue for the show.

We had 5th row for the show and it was a lot of fun.  I had tried to not be spoiled so I did not look at the setlist from the night before, but after the show I was told that they did ALL the songs from both Snowed In and Finally It’s Christmas the night before but had skipped “Happy Christmas” and “Peace on Earth” on our night.  Of course.  But at least after 20 years I had finally heard all of Snowed In live!

I have to say the crowd at this show was one of the worst I had ever seen. (Heard?) They kept screaming out and just being overall very rude during the course of the show (you can see in one of my photos Taylor telling the crowd to “shh”)  I am not sure if this accounted for the shorter set or not, but the guys also did not bother to come out to chat with those of us waiting by the van/bus in the absolute freezing cold when the night before all 3 of them had come out 🙁   Isaac forgot the words to Run Rudolph Run and ended up singing about the boy child wanting a baby doll.  Ehh, close enough 😉

Leaving Toronto we were in this itty bitty airport that we absolutely LOVED – free snacks and we had to take a ferry to get to it! We pretended we were rich 😉  Then we had a layover in Montreal where we were able to get some lunch before saying our goodbyes as Maribeth and I went our separate ways on our flights home – but knowing we’d see each other in a week to do it all over again.

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
Christmas Time
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Silent Night Medley
Blue Christmas
Please Come Home For Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
‘Til New Years Night
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

 

Hanson in Disney October 2017

For Halloween I made the trip back to Disney to see Hanson perform at Eat To the Beat at EPCOT.  This trip I also included a trip to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party so that I could meet the Seven Dwarfs in my Snow White costume that I had put together for the year before.  What I did not anticipate was how COLD it was going to be in Florida – texting with my Mom it was about the same temperature in FL as CT which is just not how it’s supposed to work! Throughout the party we kept asking “where is the sweat pants store?” and other than my photo with the dwarfs, I kept my hoodie on the whole night and was still wishing I had something maybe a little bit heavier.

One night I ended up at 3/4 parks and over my 4 days there I was able to hit up all the parks as well as ride on Tower of Terror and Rock N Roller Coaster for the first times!

Each night Hanson played 3 sets – the first night they put Where’s the Love in each of the 3 sets so by the time the run was done, I had seen Where’s the Love a total of 100 times live. The second song to get this honor. Penny and Me is close behind as I have now seen it 99 times.  I should hit 100 for that in Jamaica in January.

For Halloween the guys dressed up as characters from Life Aquatic, the movie with Bill Murray. Most of us had no idea what they were supposed to be – even after they said what they were! Red beanies and blue button down shirts was the attire for the entire band and crew.

The last day, we decided to have a character breakfast (so all my photos with Mickey are him in different outfits!) and while we were there the waitress told us that Hanson was doing a beer tasting. They never advertised it but we managed to eat and head over and get in line and be one of the first 100 to attend the beer seminar/tasting and get photos with the band.

It was a long and exhausting trip but a ton of fun as well!

 

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Hanson: Chicago & Grand Rapids

In addition to adding 2 new countries to my map this Hanson Middle of Everywhere Tour I also added 2 states. Over Columbus Day weekend I made the trek to see Hanson shows in Chicago and Grand Rapids. For whatever reason, most people assumed I had been to Chicago before but other than airport layovers, I had not.

About a week before the trip I started googling to see what food was available nearby to be delivered, since I’d be at the hotel with no transportation available to me. I found a restaurant called PotBelly and downloaded their app to order while I waited for the shuttle to bring me to the hotel. This was two strikes against Chicago – after waiting 45 minutes the shuttle never arrived so I took a cab and after confirming my order, PotBelly told me it would be delivered Monday morning – it was Friday night and on Monday I’d no longer be in Chicago. (And I am currently fighting with them as they have not yet refunded my credit card like they said when I called to cancel the order.)

I ended up spotting a Jimmy John’s as my cab driver drove around in circles because he was convinced I said “Holiday Inn” and not “Quality Inn”, you know those north east accents make all the H’s and Q’s sound the same… Jimmy John’s delivered right to my hotel so I was able to have dinner.

The next day, we waited in line in an attempt to get front row for the Hanson.net Members Only Event before the show. While waiting, Chicago got a couple more strikes against them and I became convinced that Chicago did not want me to eat as the hot dog place was not open on Saturdays (they would have delivered to us in line) and the bagel place had no plain bagels…

Our attempt at front row failed, but the members only event was fun – they even threw in a Christmas song for good measure. (They recorded it and implied it was going to be available to watch at some point, but Hanson Time.) They did a Q&A which led to them teasing a girl who had not been to a show in 19 years asking her where she’d been and if she’d seen Johnny because they’ve both been gone a really long time.

After the MOE photos there was some craziness going on for everyone to get back to their rightful spots, I was on my ADA seat by that point and basically had a front row seat to all the drama unfolding and was happy to not be a part of it. Before the show started, House of Blues dropped a screen down in front of the stage and proceeded to play the Cubs vs Nationals baseball game. Unfortunately Bryce Harper tied up the game and then Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nats the lead and then the win 🙁

Hanson took the stage and for the most part the first 6 songs of their sets have been pretty consistent, since they all transition one right into another with little to no stopping in between. This show was special because they opted to not do With You in Your Dreams or any other Hanson ballad in its place, instead they did a Tom Petty cover of the song Wildflowers. When they did it at 2 shows and then stopped I didn’t think I’d end up getting to see it live, but I was happy they added it back into the set. They also ended the set with I Don’t Want To Go Home which they had also done during the Members Only Event earlier in the day.

After the show we headed to 7-11 to try and get some snacks before Taylor’s after party only to find that… they were CLOSED! I was still pretty convinced Chicago wanted me to starve. We hung around for part of Taylor’s party and then hit the road to Indiana to get a head start on the way to Grand Rapids.

For lunch we went to Portillo’s which was supposed to give me a taste of Chicago (finally!) and I really enjoyed it. Then we made it to Grand Rapids where I waited at the hotel for the rest of my crew to join me as I had been bouncing from group to group all weekend.

Since we had seated shows for the show we opted to head to a locally recommended place – Hop Cat for dinner – but their 45 minute wait was cutting things a little bit too close. We went to a different restaurant instead where we ordered cherry coke that tasted like root beer? Upon returning to the venue the line was around the block and we waited a while before jumping in – finally made it in just minutes before Hanson took the stage and I am not sure everyone was actually inside yet!

The setlist was nothing too different for Grand Rapids and being in the seats made for a different perspective – the girl behind us was screaming that she loved Taylor like it was 1997. No one in the upper balcony seats were allowed to stand until Taylor demanded it so it was a weird vibe going on, but still a fun show. Taylor tried to do his side step with Isaac during Get the Girl Back but Isaac was having none of it. Andrew and Dimetrius were go-go dancing during one of the songs which was hilarious to watch. There also seemed to be a lot more children at this show than any of the others, I counted 5 or 6 down on the floor and imagine there were probably more in the seats as well.

After the show we decided it was our only chance all tour to try and get a photo with any of the guys and while all 3 of them came out it was very crazy and hectic and we couldn’t get up close enough to them before Taylor said security had to leave so they’d have to go. We encountered a couple of rude, pushy girls who were talking about how it was their first show. While I’m happy that so many old fans are returning, I wish things could be a bit more laid back at the bus areas after the shows. A nice, organized line is probably too much to ask for though 😉

I am sad that the tour is over for me – even though i have 9 shows coming up in Disney World, it just won’t be the same as a full length tour show! But I am looking ahead to the Christmas tour which will be here before I know it where I will be attending 4 of the 8 shows!

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Hanson in Boston

Sunday night was time for my second double header as I headed to Boston to see Hanson at the House of Blues.  The line was around and around the block which was insane. Fortunately the Hanson.net Members Only Line was just finishing going in so we were able to hop in it and enter the venue.  My seat was on the balcony on Isaac’s side – although since I had bought the tickets I was convinced I had the stadium seats. It was a nice surprise since the stadium seats were much further back than I had expected. If I leaned at just the right angle I could see all guys, but for the most part my view was Taylor and Zac and Isaac looking like he was in jail due to the bars around the balcony!

I opted to crowd watch a bit more this show than usual, probably because I had such a great view of the GA Floor below me and the Boston crowd did not disappoint.  There were a couple of younger girls in the crowd singing along at what appeared to be the top of their lungs (with feeling) to every song.  There was a girl dancing with the merch guy to Weird-  complete with her twirling him. And that same girl’s reaction when This Time Around started was gold. Probably because it was the complete opposite to my usual reaction when they start that song.

Highlights included – me making it through With You In Your Dreams without crying (the trick is to try and ignore the fact that you are at a concert and check your social media accounts that you had neglected for the last hour or so) and I Don’t Want To Go Home as the encore.

We didn’t stay for the after party this night as it was a “school night” and I was disappointed to find out that Zac came out by the buses relatively quickly after the show – but I think the extra sleep before heading to work on Monday was more necessary than another photo with Zac. (At least, that is what I am going to keep telling myself)

Still one more double-header to go… and this time I’ll be adding 2 new states to my map!

 

Already Home
Waiting For This
Where’s The Love
Look At You
Tragic Symphony
Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’
Great Divide
This Time Around
Weird
Go
Madeline
Juliet
Strong Enough To Break
Penny and Me
Watch Over Me
With You In Your Dreams
On and On
I Was Born
A Minute Without You
Get The Girl Back
I’m A Man / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Long Train Runnin
MMMBop
If Only
Fired Up
In The City

Encore:
I Don’t Want To Go Home
Lost Without Each Other

 

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Hanson New York City

Saturday September 30th Hanson brought the Middle of Everywhere Tour to Times Square and the Playstation Theater.  This was my 3rd show on the tour in the US. This show was the first time that the I’m a Man / Gimme Some Lovin’ / Long Train Runnin’ medley made it in to the set in the US (I had previously seen them do it at a couple of shows in Australia)

It’s getting harder and harder to write about the show specifically – but at this show it seemed like someone was smoking weed up front – the smell was so strong (up there, I didn’t smell it) that even Zac called them out on it from the stage.

I have to say that the people that surround you at a show can make or break it for you and somehow I ended up with a bunch of people who broke it for me.  I was seemingly accused of attempting to swipe the girl behind me’s leather jacket before the show even started. (Where would I hide it? Why would I want it?) A couple people stood and the people behind them had a cow [the aforementioned jacket girls] which led to the boyfriend next to me asking them to move which resulted on them instead standing on the rail and blocking MY view for the rest of the show.  I was fully prepared to stand if the people legitimately in front of me were standing but I was not prepared for everyone behind/next to me to pitch a fit because they “bought seats for a reason” and “couldn’t stand”.  If you have a legitimate medical issue that results in you being unable to stand – you should have talked to the venue about ADA seating. They were eager to fill the section as EVERY employee that saw me walk by asked if I wanted to sit in there – but I preferred to stay in the Mezzanine. Perhaps that was my mistake – but I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to see Zac from there and what I ended up with was being unable to see Taylor most of the time. A trade off I will take every time.

After the show we attended our first Dance Like You Don’t Care after party.  Getting this organized was kind of a shit show as the venue had no idea how we even bought tickets.  “How did you get tickets?” “Online” “Were they still available?” “As of last night”

They had us all sit in the mezzanine seats to clear the place out and it was like we were back in elementary school – they didn’t want us to move. Eventually we got permission to go to the bathroom or get food (since they would not be serving food after hours) but it all felt a bit like punishment for 8 year olds and we were worried we would end up with detention.  Finally they came by to scan our tickets and then told us to go down to the stage row by row, which were the instructions we were following but I guess another worker didn’t like how we were doing it and wanted us to go back. It’s one of you versus hundreds of us, lets see how that works for you, buddy. (Spoiler: It didn’t)  We ended up on the barricade and then waited… and waited… under an air vent for Taylor to make his appearance.  He did shots with some of the crowd – one being my friend Samantha so that was cool and another notable point was actor Drew Seeley was in the crowd with his wife.  We decided to make “No Diggity” our final song before heading out to get some cheesecake – and once he started up Katy Perry right after we knew our choice was correct.

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Hanson Middle of Everywhere Silver Spring

After our trip to VA we made the trek to MD for the Hanson show in Silver Spring and the Members Only Event preshow.

Any Hanson.net member who RSVPed for the event was let in early to a pre-show performance of 7 Members Only songs and then a Q&A. They answered questions about who sings verse 2 on Ive Got Soul (and I think that is when Taylor quipped you could use Google – I’d have to agree – any question that I know the answer to or is on my website is not something you should be wasting our time asking…) they also go asked who has the best Walk of Shame story – which they refused to answer. They talked about if they felt their social media was personal or marketing (neither) a bit about Christmas shows being close to selling out and toying with the idea of a yearly Christmas themed event (please alternate it with BTTI somehow if you end up doing it, Hanson!) and then they did group photos with members in groups of 10.  You had the option of forgoing a photo to get to the front of the line for the entrance to the stage again after the photos. Since we were doing ADA anyway we opted for the photo and ended up next to Zac.

Then we waited for doors to officially opened and got our spot up on the balcony for the show (Taylor’s side this time) The setlist was a bit different than the night before – they always do tend to mix things up a bit when they are on tour in the US since they know so many fans travel to many shows. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder for me to review said shows lol   Nothing of note happened – except that the AC was on FULL BLAST and blowing right at us the whole show which brought my chair dancing up a level or two to try and keep myself from freezing!

After the show was the after party but since it was a Sunday night we opted to not stay.

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Hanson at The Norva

Sometimes my partner in crime and I think we have great ideas and we can do it all. I think we also forget what ‘It’s only 5 hours away’ really means. Friday night I headed down to her place in Pennsylvania, we got to bed early and woke up at 5:30 to do the 5k / fun walk for Four Diamonds at Hershey Park. After completing the race we went back to her place, changed and headed in the car for the 5 hours to Norfolk and then attempted to nap in the car. (Which really didn’t work because we ended up in a noisy parking garage that was apparently free but we paid $10.50 before leaving)

Upon arrival at The Norva, we were told there was no separate line/entrance for ADA and it was “first come, first serve” I am not sure how you can tell people that it’s too bad so sad that they are disabled but they no longer have room to accommodate you… but whatever. We hopped in the members only line, got inside only to be told that Maribeth might not be able to stay near me in the ADA section. WHAT? (Also the fact that it was already “full” and the general line had yet to go in was pretty crappy) They put me in the “best seat in the house” according to our security friend Nolan (who was awesome and helped me up on the high chair and everything) and Maribeth stood next to me. Then one of the other security guys came over and told Maribeth that she couldn’t stand next to me and could go stand behind the section a good 5 feet away from where I was. She explained she didn’t drive all the way from PA to go to a show with me to not end up next to me… and the guy told her “If I make an exception for you, I have to make an exception for everyone. But I’ll make an exception for you” What? We couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or what but then he told her that no, she could stay there. WHY bother arguing and telling her no then, if it in the end you were just going to let her stay? Why do these venues have to get us all riled up over being able to have a safe spot and worry us for no reason? (This isn’t a one-off thing – getting an ADA spot is very often very stressful and it shouldn’t be that way!)

The great thing about this tour is that there is no opening act, so Hanson took the stage shortly after 8pm. Our spot put us just above Zac so we were staring at Isaac and Taylor’s back most of the night but it was a cool perspective because we could see the crowd like Hanson does during the show! When Zac and Taylor swapped spots for “Juliet”, Taylor spotted us up in our spot and ended up singing a few songs to us. They have been switching up the set a lot more in the states than they did in Australia and I was glad to sneak a peak at the setlist before the show and see that ‘with you in your dreams’ was NOT on it – but that Runaway Run and Save Me were! Zac was sick – I have never seen him sweat so much (and he actually wrung out his shirt at the end of the show on the stage and it was gross) so we opted to not hang out by the bus after the show and instead head to our crash pad for the night.

It was a great show to start our tour “run” on (if you can call just weekend shows a run) and we were looking forward to the members only event and concert in MD the next night.

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